For one month, Brazil will be putting its best cleated foot forward as the world turns its attention to the bustling, colorful country for the duration of the Fifa World Cup. For the uninitiated, it’s also a prime opportunity to become acquainted with the richly diverse economic powerhouse.
Brasilia is one of 12 host cities during the World Cup. Here’s a snapshot.
Location: Brasilia is located in the center of Brazil.
Did you know?: While Sao Paulo may be the most populous city in the country and Rio de Janeiro the most popular, Brasilia is the capital city of Brazil. It replaced Rio as the capital of the country in 1960.
Interesting fact: Brasilia is the only 20th century urban center to be inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Developed by urban planner Lucio Costa and architect Oscar Niemeyer, the city is laid out in the shape of a bird in flight, while buildings and monuments are ultra-modern and futuristic.
Upon visiting the city, astronaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man to travel to outer space, said: “I am under the impression that I’m arriving at a different planet.”
What to see and do:
Paranoa Lake is an artificial body of water created to offset the dry summer season. Activities include canoeing, rowing, yachting, water skiing, windsurfing and stand-up paddling.
Metropolitan Cathedral of Brasilia
Designed by Oscar Niemeyer, the landmark cathedral is unmissable with its 16 concrete pillars that rise to form a hyperboloid structure.
Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil
With locations spread across the major urban centers of Brazil, the satellite Brasilia site of the CCBB is part of the most important contemporary art space in the country. The Brasilia museum houses two galleries, an indie cinema, a cafe and a bookstore.
Palacio da Alvorada
The official presidential residence. The name means ‘Palace of the Dawn.’
Brasilia National Park
Located just 10 km from the center of the city, this green oasis of 42,390 acres offers pools and hiking trails and is home to rare and endangered wildlife species such as the armadillo, giant anteater, ocelot and maned wolf.